Articles From Issue 4

The following are sample articles from Issue 4. Click here or contact to order the full zine in hard copy or PDF format.

Growling Grrrls of the World (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Talking Out Walking On - the Spiritual Emancipation of Rural South African Women (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Her World (by Sarah I. Illouz)
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Death Metal for Life! (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Grrrls Take the Lead (Full Version) (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Grrrls Take the Lead - Riot Grrrl Section (Excerpt) (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Bikini Kill (Riot Grrrl)
Is it really necessary for me to tell you gals why this band kicks major chauvinistic ass? Being the leaders of the Riot Grrrl movement, and screaming slogans like “We’re Bikini Kill and we want REVOLUTION GRRRL STYLE NOW!” they managed to break into the male-dominated punk scene and encouraged other members of the ovaries community to get involved in the DIY culture of punk music, tune their G-string (and all the other guitar strings) to the sound of Riot Grrrl, bang their aggression out on drums, and express whatever they wished right from the core of their beautiful being. Lead vocalist, Kathleen Hanna, is such a prominent figure within the Riot Grrrl movement that limiting her to one band would not be enough to get the full scope of the woman and the legend. Therefore, Riot Grrrl fans were blessed to have her in various other projects including Julie Ruin and Le Tigre. But no female band, as hard as they try, can ever measure up to the band that started it all. All hail Bikini Kill! “Just because my world, sweet sister, is so fucking goddamn full of rape, does that mean my body must always be a source of pain?” – I Like Fucking.

Bratmobile (Riot Grrrl)
The beauty of Riot Grrrl is that you don’t even need to sound good or be too talented with your instruments to have a band and get on stage. This is how bands like Bratmobile got to the forefront of the Riot Grrrl movement. Neither they nor Bikini Kill had any elaborate drumbeats or mind-blowing guitar solos because that was not the essential purpose of third-wave feminism. Their voice is also not exceptional, but the amount of emotion transmitted through all aspects of their music and the message of the lyrics is tremendously palpable and empowering. And, I mean, Bratmobile is just awesome. “A boy is good for nothing, can’t give you nothing, I’m sick of nothing. And all the girls that sing along go ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah!’” – Gimme Brains.

L7 (Grunge)
This all-female band emerged from the infamous Seattle grunge scene of the early nineties, and it seems to me like they’re one of the better known Riot Grrrl bands. There are many people who have no idea what Riot Grrrl is but know L7 pretty well, whatever that means. In any case, the lead singer, Donita Sparks, is now involved in other projects, but L7 remains her most popular endeavor. L7’s music differs from other Riot Grrrl bands as their guitar riffs are cleaner and don’t have much static in their recordings, which makes their sound more radio-friendly, and Donita’s shrieks are far less gut-wrenching than Kathleen Hanna’s. However, this does not diminish from the band’s powerful female fury, and their lyrics are just as liberating. “That knife in my back has fingerprints that belong to you. I got a grudge that I’m holding for as long as I live, because you lied to my face and that’s something that I can’t forgive.” – Fuel My Fire.

Lunachicks (Punk)
Pure, unapologetic punk is what describes these badass bitches. With songs about PMS, eating disorders and beating men up to a bloody pulp, Lunachicks made it to the Riot Grrrl scene without even describing themselves as such. Their quick drumbeats and head-spinning riffs is what truly sets them apart from other Riot Grrrl bands, as their style really is just raw Rancid-style punk – and so is their image. Lead singer, Theo, has these insane sleeve tattoos from her shoulders to her wrists. With their disordered hair, makeup and clothes, all members of the band made themselves into dirty garbage barbies that came to life to wreak havoc on a society that made the clean, pretty pink barbies the ultimate models for little girls – just as the cover of Pretty Ugly suggests. And now the theme song I was named after: “She’s big and bad and she’s not afraid to show it, she’ll take you down like a motherfucking bullet.” – Badass Bitch.

The Distillers (Punk)
Yet another pure, raw, and unapologetic punk band. Unlike the others listed above, this band is female-fronted, and the other members are dudes. But if Angela Gossow is my wife, Brody Dalle is the woman I’m having an affair with. They’re rather popular, mostly because Rancid helped them get where they are (lead singers of the respective bands were an item until a while ago). Their video for “Drain the Blood” got relatively a lot of airplay. Their music is miles away from Bikini Kill’s style and is definitely more elaborate in terms of riffs, solos and background vocals. The lyrics, however, remain similar. Brody deals a lot with teenage angst and rebelling against societal norms, but also with body image and growing up as an outcast. “Give me an award, I conquered food again. What else is better in life than to purge my pain? If I cut, I won’t look like that. If I cut, if I cut, I won’t feel like this.” – Sick of it All.

Israeli Ladies Take the Lead - A Review of LadyD's Gig in Jerusalem (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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The Hellcat Is Out of the Bag (by Marissa Blaszko)
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Riot Grrrl Collage (by Alejandra Gorino)
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Sappy (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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Riot Grrrl Comics (by Maha Ismael)
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Calling All Strong Aggressive Females (Your Opinion)
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The Gits - The Legacy: Synopsis of the New Movie (by Tamra Spivey)
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Queer Control Records - Join the Revolution! (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
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One of the perks of running a feminist publication is getting free stuff from people who want promotion. A while ago, I received a package from Queer Control Records including info about the company and a couple of CDs of the kind of music they promote. OK, so it’s a press kit, but hey, free music! Free really great music, actually.
This queercore label from San Francisco represents only a limited number of bands so far. However, the queercore genre is well represented as the label provides exposure to bands whose music differs quite a bit from one another. These bands include Pariah Piranha, 8 Inch Betsy, Oi-Gays, Tough Tough Skin, and Fruit Punch.
Pariah Piranha is an all-girl trio that has recently released its first record called Feel My Face Noise, and would be more appropriately called In Your Face Noise. Tara Gordon’s scruffy voice is a bit reminiscent of Kurt Cobain, but this is what gives Pariah Piranha’s music its potency and power. It appears that QCR contributed much to this band’s exposure as they are scheduled to appear in Baltimore’s Ladyfest. Nice going gals!
8 Inch Betsy is a band I’ve actually heard of before I heard of QCR. I would categorize them as a Queercore Riot Grrrl band, maybe because their name kind of reminds me of Tribe 8, although their music is different. Their record, This Time, Last Time, Every Time, was also released recently. This all-girl trio has previously opened for major bands like Gossip, and played shows along with legends such as Bitch and Lezzies on X.
What I love about Pariah Piranha and 8 Inch Betsy is that their music has heavy distortion filled with emotion, whether its anger, love or hate. Maybe this explains the name of Pariah Piranha’s record – it is not just random noise for the purpose of being loud, but involves a lot of emotion and personality. Unlike several other indie queercore bands, 8 Inch Betsy and Pariah Piranha’s songs are very radio-friendly, and would easily get more airplay if this genre was not so taboo.
Oi-Gays just sounds like a band that has a lot of fun. Their name should already tell you something about their style. Fruit Punch sounds like a band that Beavis and Butthead would love to watch on MTV, and would say something along the lines of “Whoa! This kicks ass! Hehehehehe…” And Tough Tough Skin’s music combines elements of pure punk and Riot Grrrl (and the QCR package even says metal), and although they have enough material for a record, they have not yet released one.
QCR is currently on a West Coast tour and is taking all these bands along for the ride. Every band’s MySpace page has a long list of upcoming tours promoted by their record label. And if you live on the West Coast (in the States, that is), you should totally gather your fellow queers, get your tickets, rock your pants off, and then write a review of the show for Fallopian Falafel if you can even find the words to describe the experience, and I wish you the best of luck!
That being said, I think we can expect to see a lot more of these bands, and a lot more of QCR. Hopefully, the label will continue to pursue their goal of bringing us “the best music you haven’t heard… yet!” and bring to the forefront more such wholesome queercore bands.

Riot Grrrl Corner - Arch Enemy (by Hadass Ben-Ari)
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